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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Mark Walters’ nationally syndicated radio show and podcast, Armed American Radio, is one of my favorites.  I’m a regular listener and an occasional guest.  This past Sunday night, after Mark had completed one of my two-day, twenty-hour MAG-20 Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement courses, I joined him on the show along with Claude Werner, The Tactical Professor, who hosted the class in Atlanta.  Other scheduled guests included Gail Pepin, Amber Kunau, Beth Alcazar, and famed instructor Rob Pincus.

During the second hour, listeners got an unexpected surprise guest: George Zimmerman called in.

If you’ve ever heard the Internet BS of “a good shoot is a good shoot” or “if you’re acquitted, nothing else matters,” you’ll appreciate the reality of what Mr. Zimmerman had to say. He spoke in detail about how profoundly the massive media campaign against him, and of course the ordeal of the court proceeding itself, impacted him and his family.  That impact is still huge, still cruel, and yes, still ongoing.

This is, to my knowledge, the first time George Zimmerman has discussed this side of things publicly.

George Zimmerman’s comments can be heard in the second hour of the three hour show, here:

The entire three hour show (mostly self-defense issues in the first hour, and mostly women’s gun selection and self-defense issues in the third hour with the three famous female authorities), are available if you download the entire podcast at:

Thanks to Mark Walters and his sponsors for making this much needed dose of reality available to a nation which was widely lied to in regard to this matter.


  1. Marc-Wi Says:

    Will listen as soon as I get a chance. I was just thinking the other day that GZ has been out of the news for quite a while. Hope that’s a good thing. Thanks Mas.

  2. jack76590 Says:

    I have been surprised that George Zimmerman has not gotten together with his attorneys and written a book. Cover both the personal and legal aspects of the case. Maybe this would allow George to pay off his debts and have a little money in the bank.

    With a bit of money George might relocate for awhile to a Spanish speaking country since he speaks Spanish. I doubt if anyone in Peru, his mother’s home country has any interest in his case. And for those who would harm him Peru is far away and an environment where they would be noticed and find it hard to operate. After say five years or so this incident will be old news in this country.

    It is not right that an innocent man should have to consider living his country for awhile. But I think by this time George has learned that reality is not always “right.”

  3. Long Island Mike Says:

    Zimmerman’s problem is not a new one. Not to argue the merits of his case but suggest we remember Bernard Goetz. It has been 30 years and he lives a life of poverty and isolation. Still hunted and life in danger today. The miscreants he shot all went on to great heights of accomplishment and contribution to society, but a guy who had this nations top clearances and maintained our nuclear arsenal is a pariah.

    Zimmerman’s life is gone. The left has tuned personal destruction to a fine art.

  4. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    You know, there’s kind of a flip side to this: Police officers have repeatedly stated that when citizens interact with them they should just follow instructions and if their rights are abused then take that up later in the courts. Most recently, for example, Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association President Jeffrey Follmer on December 15, 2014:

    “How about this? Listen to police officers commands, listen to what we tell you, and just stop. I think that eliminates a lot of problems. … I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it, and if you’re wrong you’re wrong, and if you’re right, then the courts will figure it out.” at 8:10

    That misses two points: First, civil rights aren’t just laws to provide a remedy once they’ve been abused, they’re laws to prevent those abuses from happening in the first place. And, second and more to the point here, the costs of “having the courts figure it out” can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to years to resolve with the police officer being likely provided a defense from public coffers while the citizen’s comes out of their own pocket. Saying “do what I say and if you don’t like it then just sue me” doesn’t solve the problem.

  5. Randy--Republic of Illinois Says:

    After listening to Zimmerman’s voice and what he had to say it gives one a chance to have second thoughts about ccw and what it means if you ever have to shoot.

    As a member of the ACLDN and the USCCA, you will still get ground up like sausage in the media and probably in debt for the rest of your life.
    Thanks, Godfather, for the opportunity.

  6. Mas Says:

    Non-uncle Dave, what would be your suggested alternative to following the officer’s commands during the contact? Resisting arrest? BTW, this really belongs in one of the Ferguson commentary threads…

  7. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas, let me answer your question with a question: What would be your suggested alternative to the high legal and personal cost to be paid by persons who kill someone in self-defense? I think that the answer in both cases is perhaps a little more restraint from the other side.

    There’s a considerable distance between following all commands and resisting arrest: the problem is that officers often consider one to be the other. There’s a considerable and growing body of cases, for example, in which officers are being held liable for arresting or assaulting bystanders or seizing equipment after they have continued to film or photograph the officers in public areas after having been ordered to stop in circumstances in which they were not interfering with the officer in any way other than merely filming. Should they just meekly stop and put away their cameras just because the officer has issued a legally-unenforceable order?

  8. Mas Says:

    Dave, a self-defense fatal shooting versus refusal to obey the command of a police officer are apples and oranges.

    Dave, I don’t know what you do for a living, but would YOU be distracted by someone standing a few feet away from you while you performed some particularly difficult work that demanded your concentration, and distraction might impair your safety? Would it matter to you if the person with the camera was yelling at you and telling you how to do that job? Cops find it distracting too, and it can compromise their safety in some situations, as well as the safety of the public.

    If you believe the officer is acting incorrectly, follow the commands and make the complaints you think appropriate afterward, through Internal Affairs and court venues if you with. To suggest physical resistance or flouting of the officer’s commands is irresponsible, IMO.

  9. Long Island Mike Says:

    Mas life is so dang complex. After watching a news report about an area LEO who sexually assaulted women when he pulled them over for traffic violations, I got asked a difficult question by my daughter. A damn difficult and upsetting question. “Dad what should I do? ”

    I won’t go into what I told her. What would YOU tell her?

  10. Jack Says:

    Thank you Mas, will listen.

  11. Dennis Says:

    Mas, as I recall, Liberal Dave revealed he is an attorney (felt it necessary to tout his affiliation with the ACLU) a couple of threads back. He also revealed a stint as a prosecutor. My thoughts on his posts in this thread mirrors yours.

    An attorney, during a trial, who is faced with a point of law, or procedure, that he is not sure of, can ask for a recess or a moment to consult with an assistant (or to ‘check his notes”), without being berated and called stupid and inept by the judge or spectators. He normally, according to how well he wishes to represent his client (the defendant or the state) has spent some measure of time preparing, in private, with his research library or legal assistant, for this presentation in court. Picture taking and video in the courtroom is fairly new, and at the discretion of the judge. If someone intentionally interferes with the proceedings, they are promptly removed by the bailiff.

    A police officer doesn’t have the same advantages afforded him. He is expected to be fully knowledgeable of all applicable laws in every situation he might be confronted with. Since the Rodney King video, a segment of society seems intent on capturing on video the next example of police abuse. This has resulted in a seemingly endless stream of obviously edited internet postings supposedly showing these abuses. How many folks saw the complete, unedited, Rodney King video showing King throwing a police officer on top of a squad car when he first exited his vehicle? I’m not defending the officer’s actions afterward, just making a point of how a narrative can be enhanced by editing and a media with an agenda ( can we use Zimmerman/CNN as an example? ). Many of these street video journalist start out their day with a mission. An example would be the “Open Carry Texas” folks. They seem to always show up at places they know their actions will cause at least someone to be alarmed enough to call the police. Several stand by to record the interaction. If the responding officer asks for their weapon, the group immediately starts challenging his knowledge of the law. I’m sure that even Liberal Dave would admit the officer is being set up. He has been called upon by a citizen, whose peace has been disturbed, to investigate why this person is openly carrying a weapon that looks like what they’ve seen on TV being used in mass killings. The officer doesn’t know until he has interviewed the weapon bearer, who he is dealing with. He has every right (and obligation) to approach this person and ascertain not only who he is, but also what his intentions are. He also has every right to demand control of the weapon until he has finished the interview. This is where these folks seem to want to escalate tensions by declaring their 2nd amendment rights, all the while gleefully taking video to post online, berating the “stupid cop” who is violating their right to keep and bear arms. In fact, everything the officer did in this scenario was lawful and backed by constitutional case law.

    I know I drifted off subject, but my point is don’t convict anyone on videos you see on you-tube and don’t hang your hat on legal opinions coming from agenda driven pundits. You’re most likely seeing or reading only one side of the story.

    Seems as if we were warned about the perils of this by someone named Ayoob.

  12. Bob Goldman Says:

    Zimmerman had accomplices Mark Osterman was the creepy ass crack not hispanic looking Zimmerman.

    Here is proof of two accomplices. At 1:33 Jeremy is talking to John Good’s wife says he warned me he’d shoot em. Yet Jeremy lied and said he didn’t know Zimmerman never went outside ect. So how was he warned? because he was with Zimmerman when Zimmerman was on the phone with dispatcher.

    At 1:44 around that you hear Zimmerman from outside say Mark. Proof Mark Osterman was there.

    Note: People assumed Zimmerman got out and ran after Trayvon like the dispatcher assumed. That did not happen. WHAT HAPPENED IS Zimmerman was already out of his truck and was getting in truck riding with the window down to the back entrance. You drive with the window down on cell phone its going to give that run like sound but notice Zimmerman voice remained the same. He was not running then but he and accomplice drove to back entrance where they always get away with window down. Mark Osterman with the spare keys that was never tested for DNA moved his truck later to the T. This is why the looking for the address and Travyon doubling back or waiting to beat up Zimmerman is bogus. There is no telling where Trayvon ran only Zimmerman’s word.

  13. Ron Rogers Says:

    The moment that Mr. Zimmerman stepped out of his truck, he was in the wrong. There was no imminent threat. He had called the police. He was advised by the operator not to follow the subject. He was suspicious of the kid’s intent based upon his clothing and seemingly aimless walking. Even police officers, when alone, would be reluctant to pursue someone (not knowing if they carried a weapon) down a narrow, dark passage with foliage on either side. At the minimum, they would have their flashlight on – searching.

    Once they engaged, I have no idea what really happened. There was no need for it to happen. Mr. Zimmerman was not a police officer. He was a member of a Neighborhood WATCH. And in September, 2014:

    LAKE MARY, Fla. –
    George Zimmerman threatened to kill a driver during a road rage incident in Lake Mary and later showed up at the man’s workplace, according to police.

    Not the best CCW horse to back.

  14. Steve Says:

    Listened to the interview, almost makes me want to reconsider even carrying at all with everything he and his family have been put through. 2.5 million in debt, no job prospects , and a bounty on his head. Yea he has his life but it isn’t much of one now.

  15. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave, I have a question for you. I’ve been retired for ten years, so I freely admit there is case law that has come about since I left law enforcement that I’m not up to date on.

    On the subject of video taping law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties, I know some states and, I believe, municipalities, had laws regulating these activities, making it illegal. I know that, at least some of these laws have been overturned ( found unconstitutional ) on appeal.

    Have any of these cases made it to the Supreme Court? I ask because, if not, only those under the jurisdiction of the appeals courts that have ruled on those laws would be affected, leaving other jurisdictions with these laws still enforceable.

    I have no experience with these laws as it was never against the law where I served. I come this site to learn like others.

    I have to agree with you, if these laws have been found universally unconstitutional, and officers are arresting folks for this violation alone, this would be an abuse. From my experience though, if these cases we’ve seen “documented ” on the internet are true, complete depictions of events, and if the officer’s actions ignored case law for their jurisdiction, the officers involved would be dealt with severely by their departments. If not, you’ve got a legitimate gripe in my opinion. If the depiction is contrived to only show the narrative of the video poster, while hiding other actions that led up to the confrontation, you and others have been duped.

    No animosity toward you. I enjoy adult discussions on differing points of views.

    I apologize for straying Mas.

  16. Mas Says:

    Long Island Mike, to answer your question, I would tell your daughter exactly what I told my daughters: if they’re being pulled over and are suspicious as to the officer’s true identity or intentions, they should get on their cell phone immediately to 911 and request police presence, preferably a supervisor, at that location.

  17. LarryArnold Says:

    Texas aw on resisting is interesting:

    PC §9.31. SELF-DEFENSE. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.

    (b) The use of force against another is not justified:

    (2) to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);

    (c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:
    (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and
    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.

    What I tell my students is:
    1. Do what the cop says. Don’t resist unless your alternative is getting seriously hurt.
    2. Even then, don’t plan on getting away with resisting without a lot of luck and videotape.

  18. LarryArnold Says:

    Oops. Link:

  19. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    First, let me wish everyone here a very Merry Christmas. Though we disagree over things, I respect you very much and hope that you and yours have a warm, joyous, and safe holiday season.

    Second, Mas, it would indeed “matter to [me as a LEO] if the person with the camera was yelling at you and telling you how to do that job” and the legal standard is that the photographer cannot interfere with the officer if his right to film is to be preserved. At the moment some sources say that your cannot “physically” interfere, but I think it goes beyond that and probably would not allow verbal interference. Let me note that I said above that I was only talking about “circumstances in which they were not interfering with the officer in any way other than merely filming.” Photography, as an expression of First Amendment rights, is public oversight over the government and is important in a free society. To, as you say, “follow the commands and make the complaints you think appropriate afterward, through Internal Affairs and court venues if you will” gives police officers a veto power over that oversight and the right to hide evidence of their activities from public scrutiny. While photography may be distracting, as you say, to the officers, it is a distraction which they are constitutionally required to put up with (and which departments are increasingly requiring them to put up with, see below.) Disobedience of those orders is not irresponsible: issuance of the orders, especially with the arrogant expectation that they will be unquestioningly obeyed is irresponsible.

    Third, Dennis, I don’t believe that there have been any cases in which the issue has made it to the Supreme Court (I could be wrong on that, but I can’t recall a case), but on November 24 the Supremes declined to review the 7th Circuit’s ruling that the Illinois law making it illegal to audiotape police activity was unconstitutional. That point has been a sticking point in the videotaping legal issue with some states contending that it was acceptable to shoot visuals but not sound. At least the 4th, 9th, and 11th Circuits have held videotaping and photography to be a constitutionally protected right and in a letter to the Baltimore Police Department in 2012 the U.S. Justice Department not only confirmed the existence of the right but said that there was no binding legal precedent holding the opposite:

    The right to videotape has been upheld so many times, moreover, that police departments are now training officers that it is unconstitutional to interfere with taping. See:

    in which a recent NYPD memo to its officers says, “Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions … Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.” As to your other points, I certainly don’t disagree that citizen-shot (or, for that matter, police-shot) videos cannot be manipulated or edited to give a false impression, but that’s not the point here, which is the question of immediate and unquestioning compliance with all police orders. (And I wasn’t touting my ACLU membership, by the way. If you’ll go back and read it in context, I only mentioned it with the purpose of admitting — I meant it to be wryly, though I may have botched that by being too subtle — that though I was a prosecutor that my legal/philosophical point of view as a prosecutor may have been somewhat atypical of prosecutors as a whole.)

  20. Steve L. Says:

    Mas, I have heard another variation that advises that you should do what you said, but also added that you may choose a better place to stop if you feel unsafe. For example you should turn on hazards to let the officer know you have gotten the message and then proceed at or below the speed limit to a safe location (such as occupied well-lit parking lot or police station parking lot).

  21. Mas Says:

    Steve, that can be good advice too, but it’s better advice if accompanied by the person in question being on the phone to police dispatch. The dispatcher can relay to the officer that the driver of the subject vehicle is on the phone with 911 and concerned about the officer’s identity, and keep things from evolving into a “slow speed pursuit.”

  22. Mas Says:

    Ron Rogers, the police investigated the alleged threatening incident. No charges, and the complainant himself said he didn’t want to press charges, which makes the allegation against Zimmerman sound like BS to me.

    Bob Goldman, you’re new here, and all are welcome here including dissenting voices. I hate to have to welcome you by saying that not only am I not hearing what you’re hearing when the Zimmerman 911 tape is played, but no one else seems to have heard it either. Far-fetched is the kindest thing I can say about the theory you’re putting forth.

  23. JTC Says:

    Mas, you may recall that I voiced concerns during your GZ series about what I felt was a lack of concentration on the lessons to be learned from his experience and what others might do differently in similar situations that could help them avoid what has happened to Z, essentially the loss of his life as he once knew it. You did not take kindly to my gentle criticism, which I couched within an appreciation for all that you do.

    Z has now confirmed in the first-person exactly what I was talking about; he knows what he could have done differently and fervently wishes he had retreated from a situation which was a potential, but not active, threat.

    Others upthread are now questioning their choice to carry the means to protect the lives of themselves and those they are responsible for. Eff that! Good people and society itself are being very well served by concealed carry as witnessed by substantial declines in violent crime, in contrast to what was/is predicted by media, their masters, and the hidden agenda they pursue, but that doesn’t fit their narrative so of course the public will hear much more about the aberrations of firearms usage than their successful use in defense and deterrence.

    So, if you can legally carry and are comfortable doing so, by all means do! But train, train, train but retreat, retreat, retreat if at all possible. You want to be prepared to do what is necessary when/if the time comes, but you sure as hell hope it never will…as the sad case and the sad words of George Zimmerman so eloquently prove.

  24. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave, thanks for the response. Wasn’t casting aversion on your ACLU affiliation. You and I are both pretty up front on which side of the aisle our thoughts are likely to come from.

    Another question if you will indulge me. I don’t recall you having said this, but I’ve seen several comments posted in the past on this site from others, insinuating that police were prone to lie/commit perjury in court. Of course I reject that strongly. Anyone familiar with law enforcement should know that if an officer is caught in a lie, he becomes useless as a state witness in any future prosecutions, resulting in termination or being assigned to a position where they will no longer be making arrests. Have you as a prosecutor or defense attorney ever caught an officer in a lie/committing perjury? If so, what action(s) did you take?

  25. Ron Rogers Says:

    Mas, I included the URL because there was more to the story. What really concerned me was that the “non-complainant” called the police a second time alleging that Mr. Zimmerman was outside his place of business. It also concerns me that the complainant, according to Mr. Zimmerman, during their first confrontation knew who he was implying bias. The article also relates a domestic dispute where the woman who called police, later declined to press charges. Especially in domestic disputes, that does not mean that it did not happen. It might be unfair, but with this track record, it is unlikely that a North Carolina sheriff would issue him a CCW. I think that we can assume that not all North Carolinians with a CCW are even-tempered and possessed of good judgement, but I doubt many have an arrest record other than traffic offenses. To date, I have not heard of an NC CCW holder being arrested for the misuse of his firearm. Then again, under NC law, there are VERY FEW instances where you are authorized to use your weapon outside of your home. Our laws are both narrow and purposely vague giving the DAs too much leeway. Litigation and expense are highly likely.

    On the other topic, I think that you should do exactly what a sworn officer tells you to do, unless it places your life or well-being at risk. For example, I am handicapped and there are some orders I’m unable to comply with unless it’s fall down. {;*)) The same issue occurs in the military. You are told that you do not have to comply with an illegal order. Oh boy! You had better be right and it might be best to follow a relatively innocuous illegal order and report it later.

    An officer can be under stress from a recent incident that has nothing to do with you. Do not add to his concerns! One night I was stopped for a broken tail light in AZ. The officer was very nervous and very short. Thank heavens my passenger was an AF bird colonel in OSI. He immediately twigged to the actual situation. The officer had his weapon partially drawn. In further conversation with the colonel setting the officer at his ease, it turned out that someone driving the same model and color Volkswagen with NC plates had shot a police officer in the next town over! You never know the particular environment that an officer is operating in. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. In 75 years and 7 traffic stops (3 tickets) I have only met one unfriendly officer and have never been asked to step out of my car. So, I only know what I would do if I was ordered to comply with the officer’s commands. Comply.

  26. Bob Goldman Says:

    Mas there are more people that heard it too but mainly after the trial was over. Listen again are you listening to the 911 from Jenna? The procecution didnt want to prove this case. You hear Jeremy in the background as he is talking on the phone with neighbor John Goods wife in the background as she called him to ask what’s going on.

    This was a setup by the home owners association to catch the next burglar although Trayvon wasn’t one they racially profiled him and Zimmerman goofed up and shot him when all he was supposed to do was keep him til the police came that’s why you also hear crying at the end of the 911 tape, why the f he shoot him, he’s dead, and more after its quiet and Trayvon was shot and no longer screaming. Jeremy was an accomplice. You hear him running in from outside from the patio talking to his wife out of breath. Even a witness said she saw Jeremy outside but he lied and said he wasn’t and never looked outside but was only getting knife but you hear Jenna say shhh Jeremy get up here etc..

    Zimmerman went to Osterman’s house not because he was scared but to get their story straight as they lie out of the murder and say it was self defense when it wasnt when at least 3 people were chasing Trayvon to lead him into the dark path behind the president of the home association’s house.

  27. Mas Says:

    Bob Goldman, that has got to be the most bizarre theory of the case that I’ve heard yet.

  28. Bob Goldman Says:

    Its the truth, though. What are the odds that Zimmerman neighborhood watch would kill someone behind the house of the president of the Home Owners’s Associations house unless that was a planned place to catch a burglar again they weren’t trying to kill but just hold till the police got there. Zimmerman goofed up and shot Trayvon trying to play cops and robbers. Its dark behind those houses and no working cameras thats a perfect place.

    All it takes are a couple a people to lead someone somewhere they want them to be by cutting them off and signaling to each other with flashlights never knowing many people are following him while he’s also not fully aware because hes on the phone and a teenager.

    *****Zimmerman slips up and admits others were following.***** Zimmerman to detective in reenactment video: He kept staring at me looking around looking around to see who else was….I don’t know why he was looking at 3:10 and at 5:10 in reenactment you will see Mark Osterman removing planted light fixtures from Jeremy/Jenna’s yard that was used to block cameras from seeing what was happening at the T. (Notice the white thing in the hands of the guy with the grey T-shirt on. That’s Mark Osterman.) The giant light was used here to block at the East Pool area blocking T and brighter than any of the other simliar lights. Why have a light so bright you can’t see anything going on in the camera around the outside of the East Pool? It was a planted light different from all the other lights.

    The police, detectives, some witnesses, his accomplices who pretended they had no involvement, the prosecution covered this up/didn’t try to prove case. After so many people donated to a murderer. I don’t think letting them know they donated and supported a guy who had accomplices helping him was to get out to the public so they kept it as Zimmerman vs Martin only when it wasn’t and they know it wasn’t. I really don’t know why covered for Zimmerman. The NRA was involved and Zimmerman was the son of a former judge and nephew of deputy sheriff I don’t know but I do know Zimmerman lied and had accomplices.

    Jeremy and Jenna hurried up and got married so they wouldn’t have to both testify especially since both are lying. Jeremy should have been there talking at trial. He damaged himself by saying he warned me he’d shoot em to Amanda Good, John Good s wife.

    The back of Zimmerman’s plants were not dirty to have been on his back which points to Trayvon being on his knees begging for his life while Zimmerman was standing the whole time. Zimmerman’s clean pants

    Thank you for listening. Have a good one!

  29. Patrick Says:

    First off, I think the police have a hard , unappreciated job. That being said, when you put on a weapon and the mantle of a powerful wealthy govt, the constitution is the counterweight to that power. Filming a police officer may be irritating to a cop but frankly so what. Our rights are irritating, messy and above all essential. The constitution was not written to make police comfortable, they were written to safeguard our rights and those rights are paramount.

  30. Patrick Says:

    Bob Goldman is an example of the utter fantasy some are engaging in…

  31. Bob Goldman Says:

    Also with accomplices involved Zimmerman might not have been the one to shoot Martin. I can only prove Osterman and Jeremy was there. John Good and Frank Taffee could have been involved too. Gang members take the blame for each other especially if one is trying to get in a gang but until I can for sure prove it was someone else I’m sticking to Zimmerman shooting Martin but no gun shot residue on Zimmerman is interesting. Someone got to Martin first the guy with the white t-shirt that witnesses said was on top. Jeantel – he sounded like an old man, What are you doing around here? Was that Frank Taffee she heard?

    There was Zimmerman’s DNA and two other people’s DNA on his gun but we will never know who those two different DNA’s were from because they didn’t want us to know Zimmerman was not alone when Martin as killed. They never tested Zimmermans spare keys anyone could have drove his truck to the T.

  32. Don -Pa. Says:

    First, I want to extend my thanks – once again,to Mas for providing ALL of us with yet another timely, much-needed learning opportunity. Kudos to Dennis for his always-appreciated words. Ron Rogers, great input – the concept of “obeying a police officer” is debated – at best, in our “modern” era.

    RE: Mr. Bob Goldman. – I only want to know the source of his “theory.”

  33. jack76590 Says:

    First let me say I agree with the verdict and believe the political establishment tried to railroad George Zimmerman.

    However, I believe George made his first mistake in joining the neighborhood watch and as I understand taking his position really seriously, filing numerous reports prior to the Martin encounter.

    I am in favor of cooperation with the police, but believe I can do this without the benefit of a neighborhood watch group. I do not want the community to look at me as some type of “associate/junior police officer.” Or worse view myself in this manner.

    I believe, George only got out of his vehicle to provide a better location to the dispatcher and this a lawful act. However, I have to ask myself if he would have done this if not the captain of the neighborhood watch. I certainly as a private citizen would have stayed on the phone in my vehicle and given the general location and put on my flashers, whatever to signal the police, when they responded to the general area.

    So my major take away from this incident is let the police to the policing and do not become active in a neighborhood watch to the point you go on patrol. Sure hosting meeting with the police is fine to obtain info and making reports from the safety of your home or vehicle is fine, but do not in any way interact with a potential criminal unless it is unavoidable. Or maybe I should say put yourself in a position where the criminal can force an interaction, as I believe it was George’s intention to maintain distance.

    If George had stayed in his vehicle the police would have responded and George would have gone on his way. If Martin had seen George in his vehicle and approached with violent intent then Martin would have been clear aggressor. But I suspect in that case George would have just driven away and report this to dispatcher on the line.

    Again I support the verdict, but believe in letting the police do the policing and if I must get involved doing so from the safest position possible. To me this is the big lesson of this whole affair.

  34. Fruitbat44 Says:

    Bernard Goetz has been mentioned.

    Hmmm . . . one crucial difference between Zimmerman and Geotz (and please correct me if I’ve got the facts wrong) is that George Zimmerman confined his statements to the facts of what had happened and why he’d fired the fatal shot. Bernard Goetz shot himself in the foot by shooting his mouth off with some macho-BS. “You seem to be all right, here’s another,” doesn’t play well.

    I hope George Zimmerman gets his life together.

    Bernard Geotz is, according to Wikipedia anyway, currently involved in squirrel rescue.

  35. Vadim Says:

    Now that we have practically all the information on the GZ case available, would you consider making a short documentary (say, one hour) of the video proceedings with your comments? Not everybody will have the stomach or the time to watch the entire trial, but distilling the most important sections of it in one narrative and with your analysis would be extremely useful.

  36. Mike Says:

    Ron Rogers. Please go check the 911 tape and the court transcript. First the dispatcher said about following Martin..”We prefer you not do that.” (not an order) Zimmerman had STOPPED following Martin, and was on his way back to his truck, when MARTIN ATTACKED Zimmerman. An informed opinion is always best when you get the facts first.

  37. Tony Says:

    Mas, everyone I have talked to almost even after the trail said that in the back of there mind they though he was guilty. I keep up with his on going ordeal as much as I could. I wished everyone could have heard George Zimmerman himself on AAR. When he first made the news I considered him neither guilty or innocent. But after the police found no reason to arrest I saw he was innocent but the DA was stepping in and I knew if he didn’t have the funds to fight this he was going to jail. As a member of the ACLDN I hope this and the things I have learned will be enough to find me innocent.

  38. Dennis Says:

    Two NYPD officers were executed today. Shot through the head as they sat in their squad car.

    Hopefully Mayor DeBlasio is re-thinking his earlier words of encouragement to the haters. Maybe he and Obama will muster enough brain cells to realize that words have meaning, especially when coming from supposed leaders, and that there are those in this society, who in their semi-literate, evilness, will act with very little encouragement.

    Rest in peace brothers. May God cradle you in His loving arms.

    Haters, there is a special place for ya’ll too.

  39. Dennis Says:

    Haters, I wrote my previous comment in anger, while experiencing strong emotions upon hearing of the assassination/execution of these two NYPD officers. I survived a similar attempt once (they lost the element of surprise and aborted).

    I sincerely hope that you re-evaluate your direction in life, lose the hate, before you arrive at the destination you’re heading for.

  40. Fruitbat44 Says:

    Oh, and one person’s posts on this thread are reminding me of B.A.P. (Bullshit Asymmetry Principle)

    There is a slideshow on it here:

    However it comes down to: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

    Which of course doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile refuting BS, and indeed in the case of George Zimmerman it is very worthwhile indeed. But it does mean it’s hard work.

    Meanwhile keep in mind the quote which I first heard attributed to a Judge hearing a case in which it was alleged that Heavy Metal records contained secret messages from Satan. Okay, the original story maybe apocryphal and the quote has been used by a boatload of other people, but I feel it is appropriate here:

    “I believe in keeping an open mind, but not one so open that one’s brain falls out.”


  41. Maz Jobrani Says:

    I think the lesson to be taken from these situations is to keep yourself out of trouble in the first place. Don’t do anything that will attract the attention of bad guys or police. Do your best to keep yourself invisible to law enforcement, and miscreants alike. Avoid places where these kinds of people hang out, and if you run across any, don’t engage, don’t interact, and don’t make any connections. If you do attract their attention, be the most boring person on the planet, disengage immediately, and leave the area. I realize that police have to interact with citizenry, but the rest of us don’t have to.

    Had Zimmerman, Goetz, or any of these police officers spent time and energy avoiding their adversaries, they’d be living their lives with their savings intact, their reputations untarnished, and their lives protected.

  42. Michael JT Says:

    At the risk of swerving off topic, I’d like to hear the actual, real world results of a person not pulling over immediately when instructed to do so by a LEO, and continuing to drive while calling 911 or looking for a well lighted, safe location. My experience suggests the officer would become enraged at someone not submitting at once. There is at least one incident of a state trooper, on his dash cam video, trying to drag an elderly woman out of her car while she is still secured by her seat belt. When unable to extract her (all the while cursing and demanding she stop resisting, as she is trying to explain that she is not. I believe the result was that he dislocated her shoulder) he pepper sprays her. I suggest something like that would be the result more often than an officer remaining calm and professional as he follows a person driving slowly with the four way flashers on.

    I also witnessed a DUI arrest in Iowa one night outside a restaurant where a not involved bystander was talking on his cell phone, and a state trooper overheard something the person with the phone said as the trooper was handcuffing the DUI suspect. The trooper demanded the caller put down his phone, and when he didn’t immediately comply, the trooper slapped it out of his hand and took the caller into custody as well (with handcuffs).
    There was no need for that reaction on the part of the trooper as the caller was presenting no threat to the officer. It was just his ego that was offended, and one of the worst things you can do to cause trouble for yourself is to offend a cop’s ego or fail to display the proper level of intimidation.

    Standing up for your rights during a traffic stop is a very bad idea. This is what I have advised my daughter, along with checking her headlights and taillights (both to be certain they are working and that they have not been marked in some way, a favorite tactic of local cops in may cities) and license plate light, never using high beam headlights in town etc. All of these are an excuse for a stop which the cop hopes he can turn into an arrest or a chance to intimidate a citizen. Before anyone denies this takes place, everywhere, remember, a lot of people know a cop or two, and sometimes they like to brag about the things they get away with.

    This is also why I am strongly in favor of body cameras on every cop everywhere. The body camera will result in cops acting calmer and more professionally and will also reveal to those with an agenda who the real antagonists are, as in the Ferguson, MO. case. It should also be a career ending act to attempt to alter, destroy or erase any image captured by these cameras.

  43. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    @Dennis: You ask if I experienced cops lying and what I did about it as a prosecutor. It’s a difficult question, but the simple answer is this: As an attorney (prosecutor or otherwise) I have an ethical obligation to not allow any of “my” witnesses to commit perjury by lying under oath. I did have occasion on a few instances while a prosecutor to know that a police officer intended to lie under oath and on those occasions I did not allow them to testify, which in at least one instance resulted in the charges being dismissed against the accused. On at least a couple of occasions I also informed the police department’s internal affairs office of the facts and let them know that the officer’s testimony would not be acceptable to our office in future cases. I don’t know what happened to those officers, but I do know that I never again saw any cases from them (but that could have just been luck of the draw as they were officers I only rarely saw cases from in the first place). These cases were, by far, the exception rather than the rule, however.

  44. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Saturday’s execution of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos was a tragic, vile, and despicable act and my heart breaks for the families of those officers and their department.

    Some — and I’m absolutely not pointing the finger at anyone who posts here — are presenting the idea that Police Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter are incompatible either-or positions. That’s presenting a false choice. Both matter profoundly and what’s important is preserving both with equal value.

  45. Mas Says:

    Dave, if there’s anything all of us here can agree on, I think it’s this:

    All Lives Matter.

    Hashtag not required…

  46. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave, again, thanks. Your response mirrors my experiences. A police officer that lies/perjures is neither tolerated or allowed to continue their career. I salute your actions in the example you cited. The continued respect of judges and juries for officers is dependent on preserving this trust.

    I completely agree, with your closing comment. All lives matter. Respect for others matters. Hate for others is universally wrong. Hate the deed, not the person.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a safe and happy holiday season.

  47. bob goldman Says:

    Yes all lives matter but for many black lives don’t matter to people in those all lives matter. When a black teen is murdered well its time to justify why the cop or wanna be cop had a right to shoot him even if Trayvon had no DNA of Zimmerman to prove he even touch him, even if Eric Garner was chocked to death on camera, even if Wilson said he had a fractured eye socket yet had no injury on his face in the picture which proves cops and wanna be cops lie which equals all white lies matter when it coming to killing some black which is why black lives matter is being brought out even though all lives do matter.

  48. Mas Says:

    Bob Goldman, you are of course entitled to your opinions, but you would benefit greatly from reviewing the facts as opposed to the MSM narratives of the three cases to which you refer.

  49. Noah Vaile Says:

    Long-Island Mike: WHERE did you get your information on Bernard Goetz?
    What accomplishments of his victims/attackers? Death by overdose? Incarceration?
    And what “top clearances”?
    Where do people come up with this stuff?

    GZ was found not guilty. Case closed.
    Were mistakes made? Always. Every action can be theoretically improved via hindsight.

  50. anonymous Says:

    Hey Mas are now only allow narratives from Fox News as only side story that matters on your blog???? Hard tell two sides story when one side story is dead. Hey Mas may you heard this dead people tell no tales. So only side story where getting told is right from one side because there a live because other side to dead come tell what happen. Really tell tale of not getting two side of story when only side story seem matter one come from person that alive. I hate say this Mass facts in those cases very messy Mas even if out comes where not. George Zimmeran been any thing but saint had few issue with law sent his event.

  51. Mas Says:

    I see why you sign yourself “Anonymous.”

    No, no Fox parroting here. Just no CNN parroting either. The EVIDENCE puts my opinion where it is on the Zimmerman case. What would you rather do, Anonymous, go instead with some BS fantasy woven out of whole cloth?

    Oh, wait…you just did.

  52. anonymous Says:

    Here story is fairy tale Mas about George Zimmerman.

    Police: George Zimmerman Named In Fla. Road Rage Incident
    September 12, 2014 5:50 PM
    Share on email340
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    Related Tags: Bianca Gillett, Brian Andrews, Crime, George Zimmerman, Lake Mary Police, Road Rage, Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman

    ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) — The man acquitted in the shooting death of unarmed Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin may be in trouble with the law again.
    Police say a driver has reported that George Zimmerman threatened to kill him after a confrontation on the road.
    Police are investigating two reports involving the driver and 30-year-old Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013 of a second-degree murder charge for shooting Martin.
    Police say that on Tuesday, the man called police after a truck pulled up next to him and the driver yelled, “Why are you pointing a finger at me?”
    Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said the man recognized the truck driver as Zimmerman. The man says Zimmerman asked, “Do you know who I am?” and threatened to kill him.

    That’s when the man pulled into the nearest gas station to call Lake Mary police who later released the 911 calls from that night.
    The man who identified himself as “Matt” said in the 911 call, “There was a passenger going, “Hey what’s your problem? Why are you shaking your finger?” I said, “Excuse me?…I looked over and it’s George Zimmerman who was the driver and they were threatening to kick my [expletive] and to shoot me! I said what are you going to do? Shoot me?”
    The dispatcher then asks, “And you know this was George Zimmerman?” The man responds, “Oh, for a fact!”
    “He then came up, in his ridgeline, this will be on camera, toward my car, almost hit my car, an aggressive move and said he was going to shoot me dead,” said Matt over the phone with a dispatcher.
    “Are they still there,” asked the dispatcher. “They peeled off,” said Matt.
    In the call the dispatcher asks Matt, “Just confirming this was all verbal. You didn’t see a gun or anything. This was just voiced to you?”The caller replied by saying, “That’s all verbal. He did not flash a gun.”
    Two days later, the man said he saw Zimmerman in his truck outside his work. He called police again but declined to press charges. His name hasn’t been released.Zimmerman was then stopped and questioned by police. He told them he was in the area to buy something and even said he had a receipt for the purchase and was let go.Lake Mary police had two previous encounters with Zimmerman last year, once when his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, told police he had threatened her and her father. She later declined to press charges. In a second incident, Zimmerman was arrested and accused of domestic violence by a girlfriend, who later changed her story and dropped charges. Mas I did make these event happen they took place in real world. Buy way Mas you if your gone agree with ever thing Sean Hannity say at Fox News supports them and reporting there doing. Buy way Mas before can say o not support Fox News only ones supports your side story not cover other other side story like those other media outlets are. Mas hard tell other side story Mas when keep declair only side story you care about side story you support. I put my facts on fact Zimmerman cause own issues no else but him why he had issue he had. The event above show those facts Mas you know there not fairy tales.

  53. Mas Says:

    “Anonymous, you would benefit from learning the distinctions between allegations, and the results of actual investigations of the facts. They’re right there in front of you in your own citations.

  54. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    (Note to Mas: I’d really like to put this into a more recent thread, but it would be wildly off topic there. If you’d like to shift this over to one of those, please feel free.)

    There’s an interesting wrinkle in the police-filming subject: Advocates of open carry in Arlington, Texas, are following officers to stops and calls and taping while also engaging in open carry. There have been at least a few arrests with one of Jacob Cordova on Saturday, December 27, being particularly interesting.

    I’m posting this link from as the one the readers here will probably trust the most (be sure to watch the video at the end of the story):

    but this story from the Daily Beast:

    adds the interesting fact that, “According to police, Cordova drove up to a traffic stop, got out of his car, and began yelling at officers and pulling up his vest to show them he was armed.”

    Now, the rules on filming police seem to come down to that you can do it so long as you’re not physically interfering, do it from a reasonable distance (which at the end of the day is probably part of the same thing), and violate no laws yourself in the process of doing it. Here’s perhaps the question: What’s a reasonable distance when you’re lawfully openly carrying a firearm. And a second question is this: What difference does open carry make in this situation if you’re in a state in which concealed carry is possible and in which _any_ videographer could be armed? Here’s a third: If you are lawfully carrying and are going to have to interact with the police, it’s usually a good idea to inform the police that you’re legally carrying; is that still a good idea if you’re videotaping or can that be seen as a challenge or threat to interfere?

    Here’s a couple more links about these folks and this situation:

    and an older incident:

  55. Mas Says:

    Dave, you offer this quote: “According to police, Cordova drove up to a traffic stop, got out of his car, and began yelling at officers and pulling up his vest to show them he was armed.”

    Then you ask, “Here’s perhaps the question: What’s a reasonable distance when you’re lawfully openly carrying a firearm. And a second question is this: What difference does open carry make in this situation if you’re in a state in which concealed carry is possible and in which _any_ videographer could be armed? Here’s a third: If you are lawfully carrying and are going to have to interact with the police, it’s usually a good idea to inform the police that you’re legally carrying; is that still a good idea if you’re videotaping or can that be seen as a challenge or threat to interfere?”

    Dave, pulling up your garment to reveal a firearm, particularly when the gesture is directed to a certain individual, is not simply “open carry.” It is easily construable as a direct threat. It sustains armed robbery charges when suspects do that to liquor store clerks or mugging victims.

    Answering your three questions in order:
    1. If you’re acting like the clown you describe, a safe distance from the officer would be somewhere beyond line of sight. Preferably Skype distance.

    2. Apples and oranges. I’ve always gone on the assumption that everyone is armed anyway. The person who carries a “black powder pre-1899 gun” to get through a loophole where open carry of handguns is otherwise illegal has to realize that damn few people will be able to make that distinction on sight. Right now, he’s doing an imitation of a lawbreaker who is visibly armed with a lethal weapon. Where do YOU think that is going to go?

    3. Can be seen either way depending on the totality of the circumstances. Do you think it’s a good idea to strap on a gun and go mess with cops, deliberately antagonizing them like the bozo in Arlington who shouted that he wanted to be arrested?

  56. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas, I’m afraid that I may have given the impression, perhaps with the second question, that I was in support of what’s happening there. Not at all. If you watched the video in the first linked argument, what that guy was doing was well beyond just clownish. Once put into cuffs he starts spewing vulgarity and cursing the officers. Clown doesn’t even come close and that doesn’t even factor in the open carry element. Add that in and a few other descriptive terms come into mind which I’d rather not type out here.

    Frankly, I was looking at it from more a legal, abstract point of view, with the ultimate question in mind of whether legal carry (whether open or concealed) has or should have an effect on the right to film police in their activities or vice versa.

  57. Mas Says:

    Dave, there’s a reason that “the totality of the circumstances ” is not only a buzz word but a benchmark when things go to court.

    Let’s say you’re in a jurisdiction where open carry is legal. Fine.

    Let’s say you want to film an officer doing his job, from a distance that is safe for all. Again, fine.

    However, the mix may become more than the sum of its parts. Many if not most who film the police are somewhat inimical toward cops, and the cops know that some of them are downright hostile. We all know that while open carry in public is legal in many states, it also is not the norm.

    So now, the totality of the circumstances morph into this situation: we have someone who is deviating from the norm, with a deadly weapon visible, who may or may not become hostile to the officers. This at the very least can be a dangerous distraction to the officers, who are dealing with a suspect or you wouldn’t be filming them in the first place. Do you see how tensions and perceptions of danger can rise, as seen from the officer’s perspective?

  58. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    I do see it. The question in my mind is what, if anything, we ought to do about it on a constitutional basis.

    Sometimes people simply have to live with things they don’t much like. In the book Lone Survivor, the ex-SEAL author Marcus Luttrell talks at length about the rules of engagement in Afghanistan which prevented him from treating every civilian who he met out in the field as an enemy combatant so that he could kill them. He rails about the liberals back home who would prosecute him as a murderer or war criminal if he should violate those rules and go ahead and kill civilians. When he and his team capture three shepherds who they feared would report them to the Taliban, but who they had no probable cause to know that would be the case, they were forced to let them go. When his team was subsequently attacked and all but him (along with a rescue force) were killed, he attributes that (at least by implication, I can’t remember him saying so in so many words) to the rules of engagement not allowing his team to kill the shepherds.

    I mention this because this situation may end up being much like it. I’ve thought through the situation more since my last posting yesterday and read a bit. (Again, let me preface this by saying that I do not like open carry, especially but not only in the aggressive form being currently practiced by its proponents and even more in the idiotic confrontational style adopted by the guy we were discussing in the last round. Open carry is, however, within limits legal in Texas and this analysis takes that into consideration.) Just because the firearms being carried openly might or might not be of a subtype which is illegal (a pistol may not be pre-1899, an assault rifle might be fully automatic, a short-barrelled shotgun in a holster might be fractionally shorter than the legal length), court decisions seem to be holding that’s not enough, alone, to create a reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop. That could, of course, change if the appearance of the weapon is enough to raise a reasonable suspicion that it’s not legal or if the totality of the circumstances justifies suspicion in some other way. If a Terry stop is justified, the officer has the right to take control of the weapons for his own safety. That probably does not give the officer the right to make a minute inspection of the weapons for illegal features, but the officer can plainly have probable cause to arrest if there are features of the weapons apparent during the process of securing them which would cause a reasonable person to believe that they are probably not within the scope of those weapons which can be lawfully openly carried. Short of that, then the person probably has a right, perhaps a constitutional right under recent case law, to carry the weapons without being detained or involuntarily questioned by the police and — this is the important part — to do so wherever an unarmed person can go, so long as weapons are not specifically prohibited by law in those places. That takes care of the open carry part.

    At the present time anyone can film the police so long as they do not physically interfere with police activities, do so from a reasonable distance in a public place, and are not somehow otherwise committing a crime. They need not follow police instructions to cease filming or move away unless one of those standards is not being met.

    I think that the present state of the law is — and I’m going to add “unfortunately” here — that if a person is engaging in open (or concealed, but that’s not the point here) carry in a way that does not justify a Terry stop, then they can also film the police with the same degree of freedom as someone who is not armed. I agree with you that the totality of the circumstances could change this, but I disagree with you that the mere fact that they’re filming for reasons the police consider to be, or possibly be, inimical or philosophically hostile is enough to either justify a Terry stop or to reduce their rights to film. If they’re known members of a group which are known to be, or threaten to be, physically hostile to police, that could be a different matter and might justify a Terry stop. (Let me add that though I’m a lawyer, I’m making this analysis for the purpose of this discussion of public policy issues and that neither you, Mas, nor any other person reading this should rely upon it in any way as legal advice.)

    I, like you I suspect, don’t much care for that result, but if we’re going to change it the question then becomes whose constitutional ox should be gored, those under the First Amendment, the filmers, or those under the Second, the carriers. So long as the rights of the 2A folks exist, especially concealed carry, I don’t see a way to preserve the rights of both groups. (That is, if the rights of the filmers are modified to say that you can’t film if you’re carrying, or to say that the reasonable distance is greater if you’re carrying than if you’re not, if that’s limited only to open carry it’s discriminatory against the open carry people and from a safety angle is largely a distinction with little justification, but if it includes the concealed carry people, that in effect gives the right to the police to do a Terry stop of anyone who’s filming to verify that they aren’t carrying concealed.)

    Like with the rules of engagement in Afghanistan, the possibility that citizens who are lawfully filming them may also be lawfully armed, either openly or concealed, may ultimately just be one of those things that LEO’s have to live with. You and I, Mas, have had discussions about other places where rights conflict, most notably, SYG or Castle Doctrine rights vs the rights of incompetent persons and their caretakers. This may simply be another of those areas where one side, in this case law enforcement, must simply learn to live with the risk.

    At the risk of going off topic, the current black lives matter movement may very well be another of those areas since the real issue is, at least in large part, the way LEO’s approach and engage with suspects before the confrontation reaches the point that self-defense or deadly force is justified. I can see the possibility of legally-required rules of engagement, perhaps backed by penalties, which require LEO’s to approach and engage in a manner which minimizes the possibility of a deadly confrontation (or which at least expressly make the manner of approach and engagement a matter which may be considered in the question of whether a LEO’s use of deadly force in self-defense was reasonable or not). LEO’s may well claim that diminishes their discretion to make on-the-spot decisions which are necessary for their safety. Right now that movement is probably too focused on individual cases to make much progress in that direction, as well as being on the defensive as cop haters due to the NYC shootings, but in more serious and academic circles approach, engagement, and discretion are being clearly focused upon as the real matters to be addressed. (See e.g. the discussion between two professors, a NAACP lawyer, and a police official on NPR’s the Diane Rehm show on December 23: )

  59. Mas Says:

    Dave, thanks for sending the link. I hope everyone listens to it; it’s worth the 50+ minutes. Pay particular attention to the comments of David Klinger.

    A national dialogue is indeed needed, but any dialogue has to go two ways. The police are already deeply trained in how to deal with the public, but the public at large seems to have no clue how to deal with police. You and I seem to agree that the in-your-face open carriers you deplore obviously seek confrontation and do not represent the responsible Second Amendment community. So far, common ground.

    You tell me you are an attorney, so let me offer you a tool of your own trade, the hypothetical question. For the sake of discussion, set aside for a moment that your office is private (or, for all I know, government) property. Let us assume that I enter your workplace wearing ordinary clothing, with a camera on my shoulder and a pistol visible on my hip, and as a self-appointed “vigilante bar association ethics committee investigator” begin filming your interaction with clients. Then, assume further that you have reason to believe I am associated with opposing counsel in an emotionally volatile case. Would that change the totality of the circumstances as opposed to ivory tower discussions of freedom of speech vis-a-vis 2A issues? Would it impact your reasonable fear of who the person with the gun and camera is, and what a reasonable, prudent person (or, under the Graham v. Connor standard, a reasonable, prudent, trained and experienced police officer) would perceive?

    The cop’s workplace is “the street.” The self-appointed “internal affairs investigator” carrying both camera and gun will trigger a similar reaction.
    As a lawyer, you’ve doubtless discovered that the client who acts like an asshole rarely fares as well in court (or in life) as the one who is clearly, demonstrably on the side of the angels. In four decades of carrying badge and gun, I’ve found the same to be true in the police world.

  60. Mas Says:

    Dave, I should have added to the above a response to your comment,

    “I can see the possibility of legally-required rules of engagement, perhaps backed by penalties, which require LEO’s to approach and engage in a manner which minimizes the possibility of a deadly confrontation (or which at least expressly make the manner of approach and engagement a matter which may be considered in the question of whether a LEO’s use of deadly force in self-defense was reasonable or not).”

    I would be interested to hear how you would set those rules of engagement…and whether you would likewise require those in contact with police to follow “rules of engagement” with the officers…and what THOSE rules for dealing with police would be.


  61. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas, of course all the things that you mention in your next-to-last posting factor into the question of reasonable fear and the more you know about the filmer’s violent tendencies the more reasonable that fear becomes. Just about every private person who routinely films the police can, however, be presumed to be somewhat antagonistic to police interests or they wouldn’t be doing it (though the trend towards everyone with a cellphone camera being an amateur journalist should be ameliorating that presumption somewhat), so that fact alone cannot be allowed to let the tail of the filmer with known violent propensities wag the dog of 1A rights for everyone else. The police would have to _know_ facts that make them believe — check that, not believe, but have a reasonable suspicion — that the filmer is intending to engage in violence towards them; they cannot presume that simply from the mere fact of filming any more than they can presume that from the mere fact that someone is engaging in open carry or, I believe, from the combination of the two. If they have additional information, then they can certainly take it into account.

    As an aside, it’s hard to get away from ivory tower discussions when you’re dealing with constitutional rights because the Bill of Rights was created to protect individual and minority interests from the power of the state and the majority. What seems like common sense and popular and practical solutions frequently have to yield to constitutional considerations and when they do, that’s always an ivory tower position. (I’m a frequent listener to Old Time Radio and I recently listened to an episode of Jack Webb’s excellent Dragnet series in which Joe Friday and his partner — and reportedly Webb himself — were appalled when the LAPD attorney explained that they were going to lose a case and a heroin dealer was going to go free because of the application of the then-new exclusionary rule adopted in California in People v. Cahan (1955). Listen: That’s the kind of ivory tower situation that happens with constitutional issues.)

    As for your second posting, I can’t say that I know how I would set the rules, but I’m concerned that if the law enforcement community treats the movement towards something like that as nothing more than hatred of the police, an offense to their dignity, and a movement without any credibility or substance to it that they’re going to lose the chance to participate in the discussion of whether and, if so, how to set the rules and risk having them imposed upon them. That would be very bad. I couldn’t agree with you more that the dialogue has to go two ways. In these kinds of cases there is often posturing and conflict in public, but constructive dialogue behind the scenes. I truly hope that’s what’s going to happen here for both sides’ sake.

  62. Mas Says:

    Thanks for that blast from the past, Dave. (Warning, folks, Dave’s link to the old Dragnet radio show is a full-length episode.) I also see a bit of apples and oranges in it. We go by Graham v. Connor these days in the matter now under discussion..

    I think you and I agree that a two-way dialogue is needed. I think we both know the totality of the circumstances will be critical to courtroom outcomes in these situations. And we certainly agree that any dialogue needs to go in both directions.

    Can we also agree that educating the public in how to deal with police seems more important now than it used to seem?

  63. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas, yes educating the public is certainly part of the package that needs to be discussed, though I’m not at all sure how successful it will be in practice. I heard a report the other day that a study showed that in affluent neighborhoods researchers found an average of 300 books per child per household while in a poor neighborhood they found 33 books per neighborhood — not per child nor per household but per neighborhood. Another study of communications between parents and infants found that affluent kids had heard, on the average, 30 million more words by age 3 than poor kids.

    Balancing that, on the other hand, at least in the minority communities, there seems to already be a great deal of knowledge and parent-child instruction on how to interact with the police. For example, at least one New York high school is offering instruction on “What To Do If You’re Stopped by the Police.”

    A copy of the pamphlet which is being distributed – actually a card – can be seen here:

    Of course, once again the devil is in the details and I doubt that most LEO’s are going to be entirely – or perhaps even mostly – happy with what’s in that card, though it does also provide for the kind of non-resistance that they’re hoping for. While one police official refers to this as the “Civil Liberties” view in that article, I don’t think it much differs from what most lawyers would advise if asked, especially in abstract.

    Frankly, while I can see people of good will perhaps coming to some consensus about how to deal with the other matters we’ve discussed, I’m not at all sure that it would be possible to come to a consensus on what to inform the public about how to interact with law enforcement. While I think all parties would agree on not resisting physically and not doing anything which might be perceived as being threatening, there’s at least three different and conflicting viewpoints on what ought to happen beyond that: the police’s, the minority communities’, and the lawyers’. (There could be even a fourth or fifth: an affluent citizen’s and an employer’s.)

  64. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Out of curiosity after my last posting, I did a Google search on and then read a random selection of articles by police organizations and by lawyers, skipping all the ALCU-related and other civil-rights-related sites. All the lawyers’ advice conformed closely with what was said on the NYCLU card. The police organizations’ advice varied widely but several organizations — at least three in my short random sample — used this same text:

    (One interesting outlier, not too different from that text, but with some different emphasis was this pamphlet from the National Black Police Association: )

    The contrast between that document and what most lawyers and civil rights organizations advise is fairly staggering. There’s yet a third interesting contrast between both of those and what this sample of advice given by black parents to their children:

  65. Dave (the liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    I meant to say in the last posting:

    The police organizations’ advice varied widely but several organizations — at least three in my short random sample — used this same text:

    and all of the others, at least in substance, were some subset of that fairly comprehensive page.

    Sorry for the omission.

  66. Mas Says:

    Dave, thank you for sharing those links. I was particularly saddened by the theme of the Gawker piece…when parents tell their children that the police are an enemy to be feared, it’s no wonder some police encounters with their sons end as they do.

    What a vicious circle. The anti-police mentality and “don’t snitch” mentality paint the police as the enemy…young black men and women who would have made fine police officers are dissuaded from applying for those jobs…and people criticize the police for not having enough black officers.

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